By Nalinee Seelal
TWO Trinidadian fishermen, missing at sea since early July, are said to have been at the centre of a gun battle between members of the Venezuelan Coast Guard (Guardia Nacional) and a group of pirates, five of whom were killed in the shootout in Venezuelan waters last Sunday. Reports out of Venezuela indicate that security personnel involved in the action were looking for Trini fishermen Shawn Madoo and Vishal Ramlochan who were kidnapped in Venezuelan waters in early July.
The pirates, according to reports in Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional and the La Patilla website, attacked the Guardia Nacional with AK-47 gunfire last Sunday afternoon. The pirates killed were all Venezuelans and have been identified as Junior Alfredo Flores alias ‘Memin’, 31; Joel Angel Zabala nicknamed ‘Yoel’, 24; Javier Brito Cedeno, 26; Yeferson Jesus Rojas,20, and Jose Eduardo Barreto, alias ‘Antonio’ who was 23. All except Cedeno were said to have criminal records ranging from dealing in nuclear waste to possession of arms and illegal trafficking of fuel.
Sunday’s shooting, according to the Venezuelan media, arose from efforts by the Guardia Nacional to locate the two Trinis who were kidnapped in early July in Venezuelan maritime waters. The reports did not name the men, but said they remain in captivity yesterday after their five abductors were shot dead by the Guardia Nacional near the coastal village of Mapire.
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